The Final, Edited Prologue for Book Four

Here’s the final edit for the prologue of The Quest for Yoshi.  You will see a major change:

Prologue

A Night Two Months Prior

Wednesday, October 21, 1992

The girl walks over the ground, her insubstantial form not disturbing the mist that has settled above the grass.  The gentle breeze blows through her hair, bringing the sound of familiar voices ahead.  Her walk becomes a run as she moves toward the rising smoke of a chimney.

Shawna enters a clearing, recognizing a small cottage and a smaller building.  Smoke comes from the chimney of the house.  The young prophetess looks quickly around the yard and sees freshly dug earth in front of a tombstone some thirty feet away.  Her feet leave the ground and she floats toward the house, coming to a stop in front of a window.  Peering inside, she finds an unmoving figure, covered with a white sheet.

The sound of weeping catches her attention.  She moves through the wall and enters the house.  She floats toward a room beyond the living area.  As she moves by the fireplace, she catches a glimpse of a metal box sitting atop the mantle.  The padlock on the box is nearly as large as the box, itself.  Whatever is inside of the box was forged from a force so dark, that most pious men would fear it.  The one who crafted this box understood the need to keep it away from the world.

Shawna floats through the doorway and into the bedroom of the owners of this home.  The two who are in here are familiar.  One is a woman, the other a man.  The woman has flowing blonde hair and delicate features.  Her eyes are slightly slanted, giving her the appearance of someone with some Asian ancestry.  Her ears end in a startling point and her blue robes are dark and beautiful.  She crouches over their marriage bed, calling out to her God, “I don’t understand!  If she’s not with You and she’s not in Hell, then what, my Lord?”

The man, easily a full foot and a half taller than the woman, kneels next to her, placing a gentle arm around her to comfort her.  He has a muscular frame, but his gut is somewhat rotund, giving him a jolly appearance.  His red-bearded face, however, shows no trace of jolliness.  Dirt covers him from head to toe, but the woman does not seem to care as she takes comfort in his embrace.

A sense of heat comes from back out in the other room.  Shawna knows that the two in this room cannot feel it, but she does.  She turns and floats quickly into the living area.  A glance at the metal box finds that a hole has been melted in the front of it.  Her gaze follows a burning mark from the base of the fireplace to the sheeted form as an unholy glow settles in, of its own accord, around the neck of the unmoving figure.

The seconds tick by and the fear in the air is palpable.  Shawna’s breathing speeds up.  Her heart begins to pound in her chest.  In the distance, a wolf howls.

Suddenly, the figure sits up, the sheet still covering it from head to toe.  There is a gasp for breath.  After the lungs are filled, they release a blood-curdling scream that . . .

 

*  *  *

 

. . . she could still hear as she sat straight up in the bed.  Shawna leaped to her feet, steadying herself with a trembling hand against the wall of her bedroom, just next to the light switch.  She had lost track of the number of times that she had experienced this same dream since that first night back in October.

She walked nervously from her room and stepped into the bathroom, turning on the light with a flick of the switch.  Looking in the mirror, the young woman examined the face staring back at her.  Bags had begun to form under her eyes, complaining to her of their lack of sleep.  Beads of perspiration ran down her face.  Her hair, which she had just recently dyed back to its natural brown color, was matted to her head with dampness, even though it was now December.

Shawna turned on the cold water, then splashed some of it on her face.  As soon as she instinctively closed her eyes to keep the water out of them, she could see that sheeted figure again, screaming with a pain that no human being was ever meant to feel.

Shawna turned off the water, then headed back into her bedroom.  She looked at her alarm clock, which gave the time as 4:56 AM.  The adolescent decided that she needed to go back to sleep.  She switched off the light and climbed under her covers.  She closed her eyes.

And saw the figure screaming.

She shot into a sitting position, reaching instinctively out to her bed table, closing her hand over the cool, leather cover of her Bible.  Hugging it close to her, she whispered, tears building in her eyes, “Why, Lord?  Why?”  Then she wept bitterly.

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